Tripurarahasya, of which sage Haritayana is the author, is said to consist of 12000 verses in three sections: (1) Mahatmyakhanda dealing with the Greatness of goddess Tripura in 6687 verses, (2) Jnanakhanda dealing with Supreme Knowledge in 2163 verses and (3) Caryakhanda deals with the conduct of a worshipper. The last mentioned section of the work is not traceable. The present translation of the section on Knowledge is based on the excellent commentary on the work called Tatparyadipika written in the year 1831 A. D. by a great scholar and initiate of the Srividya school of Sakta-s, named Srinivasa, hailing from South India.
Though the work is affiliated to the Sakta School of worship, the philosophy expounded in it is absolutely colorless, without any sectarian stamp, religious or intellectual. In fact, this work is of as much importance to Sakta-s of the Srividya School, as Yoga-Vasistha is to Vedantin-s without entering into dialectical disputations, if one should dispassionately examine the philosophy and the methodology of both the works, he may find a lot of similarities. The ultimate goal of both the works is the same, viz., the realization of the non-dual Self which is Pure Consciousness.
A brief account of the background of the work may be relevant here. Sage Haritayana narrates to Risi Narada the teachings of the great ascetic Dattatreya to Parasurama, the famous personality of the itihasa-s and Purana-s. These teachings constitute the entire work. Parasurama was first initiated into the worship of Goddess Tripura by Dattatreya. After sincerely practicing the daily rituals and other disciplines of an initiate for twelve years, serious doubts arise in the mind of Parasurama regarding human life, the Universe and the way to lasting happiness. He again approaches Dattatreya for clearing his doubts. Seeing that Parasurama-'s mind, having been purified by his religious disciplines, is fit for the highest knowledge, Dattatreya reveals to him the way to enlightenment through many fabulous and interesting stories interspersed with the liberating Knowledge.
Table of Contents:
- The dawn of investigation in Parasurama's mind purified by ritualistic worship
- Censure of obligatory tasks and praise of the birth of investigation
- Association with the wise is the cause of even hearing about the greatness of God
- For creating aversion towards worldly enjoyments, their unpleasantness is proved through a story
- Hemalekha describes her own bondage and liberation through an allegory
- Faith is the excellent means of the highest good and the acquisition of only harm through fallacious argument
- One should know and worship God through faith, manly effort and reasoning and then attains the highest good
- Praise of indifference to worldly enjoyments and the key to the allegory narrated by Hemalekha
- Hemacuda ascertains the truth of his own Self and is established in his own self
- Hemacuda, taught by his wife again, attains to sahaja Samadhi and is liberated while alive and active
- Dattatreya teaches Parasurama through reasoning and perceptive exposition that the perceived Consciousness
- That the apparent true nature of the world is due to firm imagination is clearly brought out through the story of the Mountain
- The similarity of dream and waking state and proof of the accomplishment of he known object only through imagination
- The world is mere imagination and the fulfilment of imagination - The Principles that constitute the subjective and the objective Universe
- The story of Astavakra - The nature of the Self is both knowable and unknowable
- How Consciousness is both knowable and unknowable - The difference between complete restraint of the mind and sleep is properly brought out through reasoning
- Momentary Samadhi-s in everyday-life and their uselessness in achieving the highest object of human life - The method of attaining Knowledge
- The truse nature of Liberation, bondage, the mind, space and Reality
- The prime means of Knowledge - The state of sages possessed of Knowledge - The faults of a person which are opposed to Knowledge
- The summary of the entire subject of Knowledge is narrated in the form of Vidyagita for accomplishing enlightenment easily
- The chief means of Knowledge, its characteristics and the true principle of the scriptures are explained through questions and answers
- The behaviour of sages possessed of Knowledge and a condensed statement of the Principle of The Way of Knowledge.